Hydraulic Modelling of Pipes on Cards to Spot Leakages

Posted in: Crisis Response, Global Water News, Water Crisis, Water pipes
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Article courtesy of Abhijeet Patil | December 18, 2014 | The Times of India | Shared as educational material

KOLHAPUR: The civic administration has decided to undertake hydraulic modelling of the existing water supply network to draw a map of the pipeline network and identify the spots of frequent leakages. The mixing of sewage with water supply has lead to spurt in water-borne diseases, including cholera, in the city since the monsoon.

The hydraulic modelling of the water supply network consists conducting of the consumer survey, number of family members in each household, number of household and commercial water connections and hydro-testing of the existing water network. A digital map of the water network is then prepared in which the date generated through the surveys is superimposed on a GIS map.

“Most of the times, it is difficult to find the leakage point as both water supply and drainage pipes are underground. Through hydraulic modelling, we are going to conduct the hydro-testing of these pipes to verify the pressure sustainability capacity of the pipes and the need of their replacement,” said chief hydraulic engineer Manish Pawar.

A recent health department survey found that 13 of the 120 water samples collected from each of the four ward areas were contaminated due to the sewage water leaking into water supplying pipes. Most of the areas in C and E wards of the city have been receiving water contaminated with harmful bacteria.

“At present, we have replaced 50% of the old pipes in the city through the funds obtained from the Centre and the state government. The work has been started since last four years. It has, however, slowed down since last few months due to the lack of funds. Now, we are undertaking the work of hydraulic modelling of the water supply network, which will help plug the leakages and replace the old pipes,” said Pawar.

The civic administration has decided to take the help of the lab reports of contaminated water samples. The plan is to replace the pipes from those areas, where the instances of contamination have taken place since last six months.

“The reports have shown that the areas mostly in the old parts of the city, such as Rajarampuri, Shahupuri, Sane Guruji Vasahat and Sambhaji Nagar, have witnessed the water contamination. In the first phase, the pipes from these areas will be replaced,” he said.

At present, the total water distribution network of the city is about 900 kms. Almost one third of this network is 35 to 40 year old. The KMC has started replacing the old pipelines and it claims that it has replaced the old pipelines of around 150 kms.

Before drafting the work for replacing the old pipes, the civic administration has conducted the water audit of the network, which shows that the areas with higher consumption of water are prone to contamination due to leakages caused due to imbalanced water pressure. According to a status report drafted by the water supply network, since January this year around 230 cases of leakages have been found and the KMC has spent Rs 1.5 crore to plug them.

According to the vision document of city development plan drafted in 2011 to meet the needs of the city for next 30 years, about 30% of the water distribution system is outdated due to which the city is facing the problems of contamination due to leakages. The plan also states that along with the contamination the poor treatment facilities at the Bawada water treatment work which supplies water to the ‘E’ ward area where around 50% of the population resides needs to improvise.

Environmentalist Uday Gaikwad said the real issue before the civic administration is that they do not have the maps of the water supply network and therefore could not undertake the work to replace the old pipes.

“We have suggested that the civic administration should undertake the work from the areas, where frequent water contamination is observed and should not undertake any new water supply work till the work to replace old pipes is completed,” he said.

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